Some days, do you feel like a brave knight donning armor against some omnipresent danger (cough cough, like a global pandemic)? Are you assaulted by questions of safety, sanity, and mortality?
And if travel gives us purpose, yet we can’t travel, who are we? Will our contributions to Life be measured in passport stamps, masked smiles, or some as yet uncalculated currency?
If your calendar’s covered with more worries than wonders, it’s time to find fresh outdoor air – this pandemic travel playlist will take you to a sunny space, where tomorrow always looks a little bit brighter. . .
Here Comes The Sun – JJ Heller – With all props given to The Beatles’ hit, Heller’s version carries some extra instrumental punch and pushes off this playlist with much needed optimism.
As We Ran – The National Parks – A month’s proceeds from this single were donated to the National Park Conservation Association; fitting for lyrics that speak of how our sense of belonging is rooted in nature.
The Next Storm – Frank Turner – “We had a rough few months/ . . .It felt like they broke everything on us at once.” But that isn’t an excuse to hide indoors forever. Step out, rejoice, rebuild!
Amadeus – Family and Friends – When was the last time we pondered our own ending? “And when I die. . .” Don’t forget that love lingers on past every mistake and missed chance.
We Are The Battery Human – Stornoway – A tongue-in-cheek commentary on the voluntary confines of digital society, born to be free range but no freer than battery chickens.
All Things Must Pass – George Harrison – Give tomorrow some credit; inevitably, these struggles, too, will pass.
High – Young Rising Sons – “Every day is a compromise/ If this is low, I’m looking for high.” Without extremes, wouldn’t it honestly become one boring ride? If there’s one thing travel teaches, it’s that you gotta get through the frustrating moments in order to reach the rewarding ones.
Van Dyke Brown – River Whyless – This song sounds like it belongs on a jangly bus ride somewhere foreign. The name of a paint shade, it’s also the color of River Whyless’ coffin, and the dream of life that ends in happy halleluiahs.
Missed The Boat – Modest Mouse – *A personal fave, which has serenaded me through many nostalgic travels. “Well nothing ever went/ Quite exactly as we planned. . .” Here’s to missing boats (or whatever they represent) and still learning to laugh about it.
Freedom (Yeah Yeah!) – San Fermin – Where do you find liberty – in the emptiness of a passport, or a new hiking trail? These lyrics suggest there’s freedom in letting go of the lists, myths and concerns that weigh us down.
See You Through – Graham Colton – “When you’re only countin’ time/ Till the continents collide/ But out your window/ You’re goin’ somewhere new/ I’ll see you through.” May you have someone – or some place – to always help you look brightly ahead.
One – Birdtalker – Be it mantra, motto or resolution, Birdtalker’s strumming ode pulls both politics and Mother Nature into one shared hum. “Burn the score cards, balance out the scales/ we are one wind distracted by our different sails.”
Arc of Time (Time Code) – Bright Eyes – You might not recognize the usually moody band in this upbeat tune, but they decorate the serious subject of life and death with a drumbeat that begs for dancing.
Northern Star – Fortunate Ones – “To know where you are going/ You gotta find out where you are.” Whether international borders close, or just one neighborhood block, we all need a sense of direction to keep moving forward.
Brave – Freedom Fry – The playlist is nearly finished, but the journey is not. Hang in there. Stay brave. Face every day as your own hero.
One Less Day (Dying Young) – Rob Thomas – “I’m not afraid of getting older/ I’m one less day from dying young/ … Someday I will leave this world/ But maybe not tonight.” Thank you, Rob, for reminding us to celebrate survival, in all its burning madness.
And When I Die – Blood, Sweat & Tears – There’s that question again, “And when I die. . . ?” Hopefully, we leave behind a memory as warm and jubilant as this late-60s ballad. “. . .and when I’m gone/ There’ll be one child born/ In this world to carry on.”